Relax, Revive, Rejuvenate at One of Santa Fe's Pampering Spas

Vacations are a time to decompress. What better way to shed the stresses of daily life than by treating yourself to some rejuvenating spa time? From a simple massage to a full day (or several) of treatments that will entice and please, there’s something on these spa menus that will call to you. Santa Fe has a host of tantalizing spas to choose from. Want to soak away your cares? There are two great options. People have been soaking in the natural hot springs at Ojo Caliente for centuries. In 1869, one of the first health resorts in the USA (now Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa), opened there opened there. Ten Thousand Waves, with its Japanese-style hot tubs, is a popular destination spot. You’ll find upscale spas at some of the area’s Four and Five Diamond hotels offering a plethora of body-centric options for your pleasure. Many local spas offer unique treatments inspired by Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico’s Native American heritage as well as the serenity of the high desert. Feeling the altitude? Many of these pampering places offer altitude adjustment treatments to help you acclimate to the city’s 7,000 feet above sea level altitude. Manicure and pedicure fans will find some unusual offerings including The Spa at Loretto’s zero gravity pedi-chairs. Come to Santa Fe and pamper, relax and unwind.


Nidah Spa
Photo courtesy of Eldorado Hotel & Spa

Nidah (meaning "your life"), the spa at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, was inspired by "the ancient healing techniques of the people of the region's pueblos as well as by the healing properties of the stones, plants and herbs that have been harvested for centuries in the Santa Fe area." Following this mission, the spa, designed to instill a sense of peace in its guests, offers such indigenous-inspired treatments as the Chile & Honey Body Wrap which combines natural honey and New Mexico red chile powder and the Turquoise Gemstone Wrap. Their signature treatments are the Spun Gold Massage and the 24K Gold Facial. They are one of only a handful of spas in the United States that offers this treatment. Arrive early and enjoy the steam room or dry sauna. Spa guests are also welcome to use the hotel's rooftop with its fabulous views of the city.

North of Town
Wo' P'in Spa
Photo courtesy of Cornell & Company/Mike West

Wo' P'in Spa at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Spa on the Pojoaque Pueblo is named for the words meaning "Medicine Mountain" in Tewa, their native language. The ambiance echoes the southwestern d�cor of the resort which features American Indian art throughout. While most clients opt for a traditional Swedish style massage, their signature treatment is the Desert Sage Massage. This 80 minute treatment pampers the entire body for head to toes "utilizing the power of Sage Essential Oil." The scalp massage portion of this treatment uses a recipe that has been passed down through generations of local Spanish and Native American people. Locker rooms provided for spa guests offer complimentary steam rooms, saunas, hot tub/Jacuzzi and showers. Their on-site salon offers guests hair and with manicure and pedicure services. The spa prides itself on having "some of the most luxurious pedicure chairs in the area."

The Spa at La Posada
Photo courtesy of La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa

Check your cares at the door as you enter The Spa at La Posada de Santa Fe. Their mission to honor the "healing heritage of the American Southwest" is fulfilled by integrating locally-inspired treatments and indigenous products into "a thoroughly modern spa experience." Popular treatments such as the Spirit of Santa Fe or the Santa Fe Chocolate Chile Wrap featuring a custom blend of locally-grown Chimayo red chile and antioxidant chocolate are offered alongside traditional massage and other spa treatments. Having issues with the 7,000 feet above sea level altitude? The Altitude Adjustment massage is designed to help restore your equilibrium. Before or after your treatments enjoy the eucalyptus steam room, a swim in the outdoor heated saline pool, a soak in the whirlpool or just relax on the rooftop terrace while enjoying the mountain views.

Ten Thousand Waves Spa & Resort
Photo courtesy of Deborah Fleig

The Japanese-inspired Ten Thousand Waves sits on a mountain just outside Santa Fe. It was opened in 1981 by calligrapher Duke Klauck who wanted to introduce Japanese-style bathing to the area. Massage was added when someone pointed out that local massage schools were turning out qualified therapists. Book early! Tubs and treatments at this destination spa, popular with both locals and tourists, get booked way in advance. Besides private and public Japanese-style soaking tubs and massage rooms, there are 13 overnight accommodations and a restaurant. Enclosed private tubs, set into the hillside, offer tranquil mountain views. In summer, you're sure to see hummingbirds. Try their signature treatment, a four hands massage. It's pure bliss. All treatments, 50 minutes or longer, come with complimentary soaking in the public pools. Be aware: in daytime they're clothing optional. There is a sauna and cold-plunges to cool off from all that heat.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa
Photo courtesy of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

If you're a spa purist, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa is for you. With its natural thermal mineral waters bubbling out of the ground, it's the only "true spa" in the Santa Fe area. Seven public soaking pools provide mineral waters with diverse therapeutic properties. In addition, there are private soaking tubs and three private outdoor pools with kiva fireplaces. Ojo offers a full range of therapeutic modalities, including their signature Milagro Wrap. The historic property, opened in 1869, has been totally renovated and expanded. The modern spa reception center offers locker rooms for guests. If you want a multi-day spa getaway, they offer a variety of accommodations from camping to luxurious suites. A perk: admission to the public pools is included in the room and you even get it on departure day. Their Artesian Restaurant has a farm to table approach for healthy dining.

Absolute Nirvana Spa
Photo courtesy of Absolute Nirvana Spa

Just hearing this spa's name can evoke a feeling of tranquility and well-being. Absolute Nirvana, tucked on a quiet street behind a bed and breakfast, brings a bit of Bali to Santa Fe. Inspired by treatments Carolyn Lee and her husband had in Ubud in Bali over a dozen years ago, the spa evokes the island with both Balinese-inspired décor and therapies. This peaceful oasis, a haven free of phones and computers, mixes Northern New Mexico architecture with the artistic sensibilities of Bali. The spa menu runs from basic massages or facials to treatments inspired by the exotic eastern land. Love soaking? Try one of the hand-carved granite tubs, one big enough for a couple, custom-made in China. In cooler weather, the fireplaces at the foot of the tubs provide a glowing warmth as you soak while sip Javanese ginger tea and nibbling on fruit and chocolate.

The Spa at Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa
Photo courtesy of Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa

The minute you exit the elevator and arrive at The Spa at the Hotel Santa Fe you know that you're in a relaxing retreat. Guests are greeted with a rock crystal wall with water gently falling creating a tranquil space. The treatment rooms all have sky motif "creating an open, weightless space of relaxation and freedom." Their signature treatment, the Land of Enchantment Ritual, is designed to be grounding and rebalancing. It combines a body polish with a deeply penetrating stone massage. You'll be relaxed to "the core of your being." This is followed by a refreshing and moisturizing treatment for your face, neck and scalp allowing you to "glow like the morning dawn." Spa guests are invited to use the hotel's fitness center, pool and hot tub either before or after a treatment. The Spa also offers an infrared sauna.

Tamaya Mist Spa & Salon
Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa

The Tamaya Mist (pronounced Meest) Spa at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa is named for the morning mist that arises from the Rio Grande and gently floats over the property. The Spa honors the journey and traditions of the Tamayame people, ancestors of the present-day Santa Ana Pueblo People (who own the resort). The spa's philosophy is "to let the sun, moon, stars and elements serve as a reminder that there are things far greater than the day-to-day." Tamaya Mist has three signature treatments designed to bring both body and mind into harmony; and each has a New Mexican twist. Their Ancient Drumming treatment, inspired by Pueblo drumming rituals, allows you to literally drum your stress away. The other two, The Lavender Dry-brush Therapy (designed to rejuvenate tired skin) and the Prickly Pear Toning Treatment, (which hydrates the skin) use high desert native plants.

The Spa at Loretto
Photo courtesy of The Inn and Spa at Loretto

The serene Spa at Loretto at the Inn and Spa at Loretto prides itself on "honoring the distinctive cultures and traditions that represent Santa Fe." The décor enhances the peaceful ambiance and a strong sense of Santa Fe and the high desert southwest. The popular Native Reflections Ritual draws from Native American practices. It begins with a ritual sage cleansing and a blessing followed by a sage oil-infused bath. Next comes a Sacred Stone massage featuring their specially formulated Spirit Blend Massage Oil. Facial fans take note: they're the only area spa offering the OxyGeneo™ Facial, a hydrating therapy "designed to deliver visible results after a single treatment." The spa's couple's treatment room is a perfect way to share the spa's healing energy with that special someone. Want to experience a uniquely Santa Fe healing experience? Ask about their "intuitive lifestyle" treatments.

The Spa at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe

The Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado is a world onto itself. The circular design of the reception area pays homage to the kiva, a sacred space for Pueblo Indians. The round shape creates a healing energy that spa guests may experience upon entering. Décor is elegantly simple, designed to create a feeling of peace and wellbeing. Treatment rooms and suites are accessed through the outdoors to meld nature and relaxation. Traditional therapies are offered alongside native-inspired ones such as their signature Mountain Spirit Purification and the Blue Corn and Honey Renewal. The former uses local ingredients and incorporates a smudging ritual. The most exotic treatment here is the Javanese Lulur, based on a centuries-old bridal ritual from Java. Aprés treatment, enjoy the steam rooms, outdoor Jacuzzis and co-ed warming room, a place for guests to relax by the fireplace.


Meet Billie Frank

Billie Frank is a freelance travel, food and feature writer based in Santa Fe New Mexico. Her blog, Santa Fe Travelers, is a treasure trove of information on the oldest capital city in the...  More About Billie